Student loans have become a significant issue in our country, and for good reason. Graduating from college with $30,000 $50,000 or even more in loans can create a heavy anchor around the leg of anyone starting out in this world. We fully understand the struggle with the high cost of tuition, as we have 3 kids who will all overlap their college years within an 8 year period, with 2 of them in college simultaneously 4 of those 8 years. Which makes us even more thankful for our vacation plans over the years.
You heard me right. Our family just got home from our 48th round-trip drive from Colorado to Little Rock, AR over the past 24 years. It’s our twice annual vacation to spend time with our family. That’s right – our 48th round-trip DRIVE. Could we have flown? Sure. However, just like in our general wellness pursuits, it’s the incremental choices in life that tend to have the biggest impact. In this case, using conservative estimates, this ongoing vacation decision has resulted in over $150,000 in additional funds and has essentially paid for close to 2 of our 3 kid’s college tuitions.
I’m no mathematician, but if you simply take conservative estimates of flights, rental car, parking for 5 of us (over 17-24 years) and then subtract out the cost of fuel, tire wear, occasional hotels for the drive over the 24 years and it provides a big number. But it doesn’t stop there. That money doesn’t just sit there – it goes to work within investments. Pull it all together and the total difference of $150,000 is actually quite conservative.
But what does this have to do with you? Unless you’re 23 years old and about to start a family and have this as an option, it feels like one of those “sure – great advice – but too late for me now!” Maybe – but what choices do you and I face today that could have a similar impact over time? From simple daily purchases to activity levels, little choices repeated over and over and over and over, can have an immense impact in our lives. Does it always feel good to make that choice? Ask our 3 kids who piled in the back of the Jeep to drive 15 hours each way, sometimes with a dog in their laps. Of course not. But they learned to make the most of it – and the benefits, both in terms of family togetherness/bonding and now having some additional money available to help cover college costs, are powerful.
What is that one choice you can make today (and tomorrow and the next day…) that would positively impact your life in the long run? Let’s do it!